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Arrival and departure areas are both the first and last moments that clients, IBM employees and guests engage with an IBM site. The experience from the security gate to the Welcome zone should be considered part of our workplace journey. The Welcome zone is a critical moment within that journey, and often the first impression a client or guest experiences upon entry. A warm sense of hospitality is essential to both the design and operation of the environment.


Signature moments

IBM environments are defined by signature moments that may be adapted in their execution to meet a project’s specific needs, regardless of a project’s size or budget. Regardless of size, Welcome zones serve as a transition space between public environments and IBM spaces. Clear signage and wayfinding are critical to guide visitors along a path. Thoughtful application of pattern, lighting and finishes can also reinforce a sense of place.

The examples shown here illustrate a variety of Welcome zones, each with a different footprint, but unified through a thoughtful approach to brand expression, pattern and interior design. Beyond the presence of our IBM 8-bar logo, these elements make our environments connected and identifiable.

Finish palette

For areas including shared elevator lobbies that may belong to a building landlord, work with IBM Global Real Estate to identify which components of the shared space IBM can design or influence. Our Welcome zones should feel warm and inviting. Contrast natural finishes, such as wood, stone or concrete, with engineered materials, such as glass and metal. Emphasize transparency with clear sight lines to the main Welcome zone.

The use of wood within the Welcome zone reinforces a warm sense of hospitality. Juxtaposed with other neutral finishes, such as concrete, stone, glass or metal, wood serves as a consistent baseline throughout our environments. Wood can be locally sourced but should be uniform in tone and grain as seen here. Combined with a custom millwork pattern, wood becomes a signature element in our Welcome zone. This combination can be executed in varying degrees of coverage in wall, ceiling and flooring treatments.

welcome zone finish palette

Color strategy

Our color strategy for environments is based on specific space types. As a first impression for guests, Welcome zones should feature a dynamic application of blue. In these instances, blue should be applied with purpose as a focal element and architectural finish, such as glass, metal or ceramic brick. These materials serve to elevate blue as a vibrant, distinct component to our identity and our environments. Avoid generic painted surfaces or decorative applications in furniture and textiles within the Welcome zone. Learn more about our color strategy for environments.

welcome zone color strategy
reception example
Welcome zone volumetric slat wall showing color strategy

Brand expression

IBM signage should be placed in a clear and prominent location to aid in wayfinding for visitors. Exterior signage should be placed at key navigational moments for vehicles or pedestrian paths. Proportional relationships of our exterior signage are defined by the 2x Grid. Select materials that complement the surrounding landscape while maintaining clear legibility. The IBM Plex® typeface should be used for all interior and exterior directional signage. Interior identity signage should be die-cut and flush mounted to the wall. Finish and material choice should be selected based on the surrounding space or existing conditions. Avoid placing the 8-bar logo on a plaque or backer plate whenever possible. Learn more about our signage guidance.

The 8-bar logo should be considered an extension of the surrounding interior design. Materiality can be customized to best complement our finish palette. Within most Welcome zones, guests are already aware they’re inside an IBM location. With this perception in mind, the IBM identity can be more tonal in execution.

Consider debossing or embossing the 8-bar logo within different substrates. The size, scale and location of the 8-bar logo should be identified with purpose based on the surrounding furniture and architectural elevation. In some cases, it can be applied to the reception desk itself if a wall condition isn’t ideal.

IBM Security® entrance wall
Elevator lobby featuring Quantum wall art
detail of wall art
IBM logo brand expression

Rhythm and pattern

Rhythm and pattern are core components of our environmental design characteristics. A dramatic use of pattern in our Welcome zones reinforces an IBM sense of identity. Patterns may be integrated into millwork or other finishes. Complexity and detailing are variable based on the size and budget of a project.

Consider different fabrication methods for pattern execution, such as dimensional elements versus die-cut designs. The application of pattern can occur in a variety of areas, such as feature walls, ceilings and screen elements. Location and design should be considered in the context of the Welcome zone reception desk. Learn more about designing custom patterns using the 2x Grid.

Welcome zone reception
black-on-black slat wall color strategy
black-on-black slat wall color strategy detail
wood-on-wood perforated slat wall
wood-on-wood perforated slat wall detail

Reception furniture

When possible, a custom reception desk is recommended for the Welcome zone. The design of an IBM reception desk can be considered an extension of our identity and developed using our principles of duality and geometry. As a place of intersection, the reception area serves as a connection point between the IBM brand and our clients. This connection can be represented in thoughtful contrast between material and form, customized to best meet the needs of a project.

The furniture should align with selections in the ancillary furniture section in the statement of requirements (SOR) tool.

reception desk examples
reception desk example
reception desk example
reception seating example
reception seating sofa example

Flooring and ceiling

As a major point of circulation, Welcome zones should use a durable flooring material, such as polished concrete, terrazzo or stone. An accent area rug or wood detail should be used where seating is present in the waiting area.

A linear ceiling system may be used to complement various applications of pattern. This expression should serve to ground our signature elements and direct guests toward the Community zone. Light fixtures should be integrated within the ceiling system. Linear fixtures and downlights should be lensed, soft and diffused.

IBM lobby
architecture texture natural wood example
felt ceiling example
lights examples
flooring examples
wood slat ceiling example

Outdoor spaces

Outdoor spaces can provide a natural buffer between parking and Welcome zones. Ideally, outdoor spaces should be active and connected with adjacent dining or food services. Outdoor landscaping and design should reflect the surrounding environment, using indigenous plants and materials. Frequent access to fresh air and natural light create higher-performing work environments.

Outdoor details
Outdoor building